Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ 38-3 defeat to Ireland in Dublin:
1. Another record Springbok loss
The Springboks’ heavy defeat was another unwanted record set by the team under the coaching tutelage of Allister Coetzee.
The 35-point difference was the Springboks’ biggest ever defeat against Ireland - comfortably eclipsing the 32-15 defeat in Dublin in 2006.
Since Coetzee took charge last year, the Boks have racked up a few unwanted records:
- First ever home defeat to Ireland
- First ever away defeat to Argentina
- First ever defeat to Italy
- Worst ever year in Springbok history with four wins from 12 Tests
- Most points ever conceded against New Zealand (57) in both 2016 and 2017
- Biggest margin of defeat ever - against New Zealand (57-0)
Don’t be surprised if this trend continues through to the next Rugby World Cup.
2. The Boks can’t catch a high ball!
The Springboks’ vulnerabilities under the high ball were badly exposed by Ireland on the night.
The inexperienced back three of Dillyn Leyds, Courtnall Skosan and Andries Coetzee struggled to deal with the astute tactical displays of Ireland halfbacks Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton.
While doing live commentary on the game, I mentioned that perhaps the time has come for the Boks to enlist a specialist when dealing with - and executing - high kicks.
Maybe an Australian Rules guru could provide some answers... ?
3. Tactical ineptness
The Springboks’ game plan - and the execution thereof - left much to be desired.
The Boks were intent on trying take on Ireland in a tactical kicking contest - one in which they came off second best by a long distance.
Bok halfbacks Ross Cronje and Elton Jantjies are being forced to play a completely different game plan to what they’re used to at the Lions.
So can we really blame them for looking all at sea?
Also gone are the days where the Springboks are able to bully their opponents into submission.
It used to be a cornerstone of Bok successes and the lack of a Plan B is worrisome to say the least.
4. Scrum woes
Losing tighthead Coenie Oosthuizen to a knee injury in the second minute of the game was no doubt disruptive, but cannot be blamed for the Springboks’ struggles at scrum time.
Many felt his replacement Wilco Louw deserved to start in any case given his recent heroics against the All Blacks and in the Currie Cup playoffs, but even he had a difficult outing against wily old opponents.
The Bok scrum was under severe pressure throughout and conceding four penalties in this department was always going to hurt their cause.
5. What was Damian thinking?!
Yes it was one incident, and there were quite a few mishaps from Springbok players, but Damian de Allende’s decision to kick possession away in the sixth minute was inexplicable.
It was probably the only promising attacking position the Boks found themselves in for the whole game, but despite a clear overlap out wide, De Allende opted to put boot to ball.
It was a shoddy kick as well that was easily covered by the Irish as South Africa’s chance went begging.
De Allende has not played much rugby this year and quite frankly has not been in much form for the past two seasons.
The merits of his inclusion in the Bok team were therefore rightly questioned by several pundits and fans.